Have you ever been asked to articulate how and why you do what you do as a Mother? What parenting principles or theories are you drawing from? Is what you’re actually doing day to day aligned with your values and vision?
What are your values?
Are you able to live by your values or do they sometimes conflict with other constraints? For example you’d like to have your young children at home more often but it’s a legal requirement to send them to school every day.
Are you influenced by the social and cultural contexts of your parenting? What did you learn from your parents about what’s right and wrong and what to expect from your children? What have you learnt from society about the roles different gendered parents?
These are questions worth exploring. Not because there are right or wrong answers but because when you are clear on you vision and values you are more likely to act in alignment with them.
You will have done this already if you’ve completed my Mindful Mums program.
When we reflect on how societal discourses or stories (for example, women should take more responsibility for parenting and household organisation) affect our behaviour we are empowered to rewrite them.
I have 3 core values – social justice, environmental sustainability, and spiritual fulfillment.
The overarching theoretical framework I relate to most is what’s called critical theory. Critical theory says that there are imbalances of power in many relationships in society. It looks at multiple sites of power and oppression including race, culture, age, gender, employment status, wealth, sexuality, (dis)ability, and education. It focuses on the societal structures and discourses which maintain these power imbalances.
For example, the pay gap between men and women and the differences between maternity leave and paternity leave. Another example would be fathers not being permitted to stay with Mum in the hospital the night after the birth of her child. This reinforces the notion that Mum is responsible for parenting, even a situation where she has just had a caesarean and can’t even lift the baby.
My value of social justice, says that all members of society should be protected and afforded the maximum benefit available in society. Our systems do not protect victims of domestic violence, who are not always but more often women. Our economic system does not benefit women as much as it does men – with unpaid, volunteer, and care work being predominantly female. And our stories around parenting mean women are often disadvantaged financially when they have children.
Another perspective that I relate to is called the eco-spiritual perspective. It says that we are all fundamentally connected, and the dualism between male and female, white and black, able and disabled, straight and gay etc. is replaced by holism. It also acknowledges the dominate discourse of human above nature and challenges this. Humans have created structures that dominate Mother Earth. The eco-spiritual perspective sees that we are all essentially one whole entity. This theory aligns with my value of environmental sustainability.
But if we are all powerful spiritual beings then how can someone have power over another? How can anyone be oppressed? We all come from the same source and have the same value.
How do I apply these values and worldviews? Strengths based practice guides people to identify their strengths, even if they at first think they don’t have any. It helps them recognise internal strengths like resilience and creativity as well as external strengths and supports. I include spiritual strengths and supports here too.
Next is to help each client formulate a vision for her life and future. What would her life look like if all her problems were solved? What in life gives her meaning and purpose? What brings her joy? How can she incorporate these into a vision for her future? What action steps can she take towards this? Which of her strengths can she draw from? In this way she can develop a belief in herself and what’s possible.
This addresses any internalised oppression – i.e. any societally conditioned beliefs she has adopted that tell her “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never amount to anything”, “my role is only to help others, I shouldn’t expect anything for myself”.
She needs to develop her own sense of sense, her own values, and her own vision.
The Anxious to Awesome program guides young people through a Rite of Passage from powerless child to powerful adult. Empowered to take action towards a vision that excites her and that is aligned with her values.
It also guides you, as a Mother, to support them on this journey.
Click HERE for more information or click HERE to book a free 20 minute intro call.